Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 200–212

MicroRNAs: Novel Regulators of Oligodendrocyte Differentiation and Potential Therapeutic Targets in Demyelination-Related Diseases


  • Jia-Su Li
    • Squadron 4 of Cadet BrigadeThird Military Medical University
    • Department of PhysiologyThird Military Medical University

DOI: 10.1007/s12035-011-8231-z

Cite this article as:
Li, J. & Yao, Z. Mol Neurobiol (2012) 45: 200. doi:10.1007/s12035-011-8231-z


MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) are a class of endogenous small non-coding RNAs that consist of about 22 nucleotides and play critical roles in various biological processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and tumorigenesis. In recent years, some specific miRNA, such as miR-219, miR-138, miR-9, miR-23, and miR-19b were found to participate in the regulation of oligodendrocyte (OL) differentiation and myelin maintenance, as well as in the pathogenesis of demyelination-related diseases (e.g., multiple sclerosis, ischemic stroke, and leukodystrophy). These miRNAs control their target mRNA or regulate the protein levels of some signaling pathways, and participate in OL differentiation and the pathogenesis of demyelination-related diseases. During pathologic processes, the expression levels of specific miRNAs are dynamically altered. Therefore, miRNAs act as diagnostic and prognostic indicators of defects in OL differentiation and demyelination-related diseases, and they can provide potential targets for therapeutic drug development.


MicroRNAsOligodendrocytesDifferentiationDemyelination-related diseasesMultiple sclerosisIschemic strokeLeukodystrophy

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012